Theres a fine line between having issues and being a self-indulgent prick. This is because it was 1998 when Iggy's Reckin' Balls was released, and dammit all the good mascots were taken. And boy, did he like being cool. Crash Bandicoot should have flopped. In his backpack is a green alien creature named Snott. Last known whereabouts: High Seas Havoc (1993). Hitting the PS1 in 1998, Spyro The Dragon introduced players to the diminutive dragon, who spent the game torching baddies with his fire breath and gliding around a variety of levels. Over three PS1 games, the Spyro franchise went claw-to-toe with Mario, and genuinely gave the Nintendo star a run for his money. While Sega was initially very gung-ho about Kidd, pumping out five sequels starring the mascot, the company eventually realized that the character just wasn't strong enough to compete with Mario, leading to Kidd unceremoniously being retired in 1990 and replaced by Sonic the Hedgehog. The go-to source for comic book and superhero movie fans. Its difficult to criticise an environmentally-conscious game character without sounding like a total jerk, but criticise we must, because Awesome Possum was loathsome. Trying to describe radness feels like describing color to the blind. While we'll never know if Socks the Cat could have given Mario and Sonic a run for their money, odds are this title would have fallen flat. And for Pete's sake, his catchphrase is "Groovy." A sunglasses-sporting, pop culture quip-spouting, television-obsessed gecko, Gex was intended to be a new kind of mascot platformer. Such was the case with the punnily titled Aero The Acro-Bat, which, despite its truly lame title, was pushed as the next big name in mascot platformers. The thought of the video game mascot has been available since the first times of gaming, with names like Pac-Man and Mario becoming symbolic of the medium. Problem was, the game was remarkably clunky and filled with unfair jumps and steep difficulty. Originally envisioned as the next big mascot star, poor sales put these dreams, along with a planned sequel, out to pasture. He was just like Jack Nicholson if Jack Nicholson was a lizard and crap. This mustached face has been featured in over 200 video games since his debut in Donkey Kong in 1981. New York, The competition for 90s mascot platformer supremacy was so intense, developers from every corner of the globe were throwing their hat into the ring. The mid-90s release of the Sony PlayStation and Nintendo 64 brought a new generation of possibility, as companies battled to create a hip, fresh character that could serve as the face of this new console generation. With the introduction of the Super Nintendo, and later the rise of 3D gaming, developers saw an opportunity to beat Nintendo at their own game and introduce fresh, new characters that could surpass Mario in popularity. NY 10036. Sure, he's got little drawn on eyes, but kids weren't exactly clamoring for a game starring a living fashion accessory. Thus, Jersey Devil was born. In this 1993 game, players controlled Rocky as he battled baddies with his interchangeable hairstyles, which granted the slobbering hero with different abilities. His only redeeming quality was that he was voiced by veteran British actor Leslie Phillips in the European release of his second game. 7-Up gave us one of the coolest mascots. Dynamite Headdy is yet another gem in developer Treasure's collection. Sometimes, a game can be visually interesting, feature inventive platforming gameplay, and a cute mascot character, but can still crash and burn. Some of the picks on this list are obvious, some perhaps less so, but at the end of the day, these are The 25 Greatest Video Game Mascots … Why, you'd get Rocky Rodent, one of the more obscure mascot platformers for the SNES. GamesRadar+ is supported by its audience. Ranked: The 5 Best Video Game Mascots (& 5 Worst) Games in the '80s and '90s weren't much without the help of their friendly mascots. Companies tried everything from copying Nintendo's formula to blazing new platforming trails, but the results were always the same: failure. Some had smart, creative designs that have endured to this day - but most were just total crap. Look at some of the old Star Fox artwork and you'll see what I mean. It stars a... um... well apparently it's a puppet with a very large bowtie and a detachable head. Comment. He's been passed around between several different publishers and developers, but never found home since leaving Naughty Dog. Problem is, the game played like a watered down Kid Chameleon, and the game's story, which involved Rocky trying to save the stolen daughter of a restaurant owner in exchange for a free all-you-can-eat buffet, didn't exactly get kids excited. Please refresh the page and try again. Maybe it's time for a gritty reboot... Last known whereabouts: Earthworm Jim HD (2010). Kicks Dr. Machino's [Behind] in 1993. The game's protagonist, an x-treme skateboarding possum, stressed the importance of recycling and protecting the planet, all while engaging in ho-hum platformer action. Well, why not a legendary New Jersey cryptid? But it's kind of an unspoken rule that your video game mascot should at least be visually interesting. GamesRadar+ is part of Future US Inc, an international media group and leading digital publisher. As the story goes, Gex spent most of his youth in a self-induced media-coma following the death of his father. During the 80s, the Amiga became one of the most successful home computers on the market, with each iteration of the little gray box topping sales charts. The battle for video game mascot supremacy between Mario and Sonic is legendary. But the Blue Blur wasn't Sega's first crack at trying to dethrone Nintendo's goomba-stomping plumber. Heck, one of the most prolific mascots in gaming is a blue hedgehog. Once upon a time, Banjo-Kazooie challenged Mario for console supremacy, but these days, it seems as though Rare has forgotten all about the beloved characters. All the latest gaming news, game reviews and trailers. But eventually developer Insomniac Games sold off the rights to ol' Spyro, leading to a rash of poorly-received games, taking the once highly-successful franchise and turning it into bottom-of-the-barrel handheld games and Elijah Wood-starring reboots. With the dawn of the 3D platformer, the battle for mascot supremacy really began to heat up. But time, and a poorly received sequel, wouldn't do the franchise any favors. The godfather of video game mascots (and not just because he's Italian), Mario is more famous than the queen, the president and the members of Girls Aloud combined. Releasing in 1994, Ristar introduced players to the titular anthropomorphic star, who utilized his stretching arms to battle baddies and traverse treacherous terrain. Be sure to look this one up if you haven't already. Your slot should have gone to Aero the Acro-Bat. A video game mascot is a mascot that is used by video game companies to promote both the company and their specific video game series and franchises. Starring a sunglasses-clad red dot, who worked as the mascot for perennial "oh yeah, that drink still exists" contender 7-Up, Cool Spot saw the soft drink mascot bonk enemies, hang out at the beach, and jump around inside giant 7-Up bottles. Well, SEGA already had a mascot: Sonic the Hedgehog. List items Today, radness in popular culture has fallen by the wayside, replaced by sleek, simple elegance. For a time, it even seemed as though Crash would surpass Mario, but declining quality and sales would stop this possibility in its tracks. In fact, Croc: Legend of the Gobbos started as a pitch by developer Argonaut Games to Nintendo as a Yoshi-starring title, but when Nintendo declined, Argonaut kept the Mario-inspired gameplay, re-skinned the main character, and introduced the world to Croc. The twirling, bug-eyed marsupial established early dominance on the Sony console, becoming synonymous with the Japanese giant's first 3D system. Take jerky, busted Sonic The Hedgehog-wannabe gameplay, add in confusing, terribly designed levels, and top it all off with a character that refuses to stop talking, and you've got Bubsy. So what exactly happened? Unlike Sonic, Ristar featured a slower pace and emphasized utilizing Ristar's arms to interact with the environment. Oh no, Bubsy. Released in 1991 for a wide selection of home computers, Titus The Fox tasked players with helping the fuzzy protagonist to journey to the Sahara desert to rescue Titus' stolen girlfriend. When Gex's mother tried to break up this pity party, Gex chose homelessness, only to return after she had inherited a life-changing sum of money - which Gex then used to buy an even bigger TV. This is because this once heavily hyped game never even hit shelves. For a time, Gex served as developer Crystal Dynamic's mascot, and it seemed like the wisecracking gecko could give Mario and Sonic a run for their money, but by the third title in the series, sales had slumped, forcing Crystal Dynamics to put an end to the Gex franchise. The universe is a harsh place. Up to four players could race against each other, but instead of just rolling down a single track there was a surprisingly amount of platforming involved (hence the need for a grappling hook). Problem was, the game was aggressively French (featuring a theme song from an obscure French comedian) and featured "pick up and throw enemies" gameplay that essentially made the game feel like a watered down Super Mario Bros. 2, which caused gamers to avoid this platformer in droves. Titus The Fox stood as much chance of dethroning Mario as you stand in putting out the sun by spraying a garden hose on it. The very best mascots are instantly recognisable from their silhouette alone, and ideally distill the essence of a company's ethos. Released for the PlayStation in 1997, Croc: Legend of the Gobbos served as one of the first 3D platformers for the console, causing the title to sell like hotcakes. Featuring a Tim Burton-esque aesthetic, replete with haunted houses and spooky creatures, the looks of Jersey Devil helped to set the game apart from the avalanche of mascot platformers, but clunky gameplay and poor sales halted any chance of Jersey Devil achieving mascot platformer fame. Two criteria for success on this list: 1. Its even sadder when you consider that Havoc's game was actually really well made for what it was. Headdy's world is a performance, it's theater. Click here to see who made our list! Compound this with Woody's constant wailing, and you've got one lame mascot platformer that never stood a chance of giving Mario a run for his coins. Thank you for signing up to GamesRadar+. This trio had you racing to get the cereal box open before your siblings got there first. Originally appearing in Alex Kidd in Miracle World, the diminutive, jumpsuit-clad Kidd battled everything from dinosaurs to sinister wizards. Mikey from Nick Arcade (1992) - In the early '90s, I remember watching Nick Arcade on Nickelodeon which was a fun game show that put you inside a video game for the bonus round. Share Share Tweet Email. But if you look at his game in action, youll see the most flagrant Sonic rip-off of a decade ruled by flagrant Sonic rip-offs. When the TurboGrafx was eventually discontinued, Bonk migrated to the SNES and tried to find a new audience, but with the system already choked with mascot platformers, Bonk got lost in the shuffle, putting an end to the character's chances of challenging Mario's supremacy. However, the more memorable games were Cool Spot and its sequel Spot Goes to Hollywood, where the titular anthropomorphic red dot with sunglasses could jump around and attack enemies with soda bubbles. But this is exactly what Rare did with Banjo-Kazooie, and, for a time, the gamble paid off. While debate continues to rage over just which Playstation mascot platformer was better, there's no debating the importance of Spyro the Dragon. Another game, in another time, and more fun while also helping to support Sporcle to wizards. A beloved kart racer spin-off, developer Naughty Dog perfected the character his... Lot of mascots over the years Italian plumber Mario is beyond just a gaming superstar by veteran actor... 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